Cauldron Anthology Issue 6 - LGBTQIA+ Cauldron Anthology LGBTQIA+ - Page 22

Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman Anne Walsh Donnelly Sheila burns the queen cakes Mam told him to make so she won’t ask him again. He sneaks into the tractor cab and gives Dad his sweetest smile so he’ll bring him to check the cattle in the far field. He buys a cowboy suit with his first Holy Communion money after Santa fails to deliver three years in a row. He risks a beating from Dad when he runs through the bog in the pink pumps Mam bought him to wear to Sunday Mass. He cries when his chest grows misshapen tennis balls and makes his Man United jersey lumpy. He has sex with men, he has sex with women, drinks beer in the college bar unzips his jeans and shoves the empty bottle into his empty groin. He goes home after Dad dies, to help Mam with the farm. She tells him she thanks God every day for giving her a girl He gets a part-time job teaching physics in his alma mater falls in love with the school principal and his three-piece suits. He believes Mam when she tells him, life will be complete when he becomes a mother. He tames his hair with a straightener, tarnishes his nails with blush polish that smells like turpentine and smears crimson gloop on his lips. He wears a wedding dress that hides his pallid skin, makes him look like he’s perched on a cloud. He gives birth to three girls. His husband presents him with a diamond eternity ring. Sheila still burns queen cakes. 22 Cauldron Anthology